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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Things are not always what they seem

I went up to the nursing home again today and saw mum but we didn't go out to the park due to the persistent rain. I passed the time by sitting in her room playing with my smartphone. Mum slept most of the morning. Then we went out to the dining room lunch. I sat down next to F, who is usually often one of the first people to sit down in the dining room for lunch. F speaks with a North American accent but I haven't worked out yet if she is American or Canadian, so out of fear of causing offense I do not refer to either country although I did say today that the US had 320 million people. "That sounds like a lot of people," F said (so maybe she's Canadian). Today also a small woman wearing a blue dress sat down at our table to make four of us, which is the usual number of people because you can't have more than four chairs at a table in the nursing home dining room.

I assumed that the woman in the blue dress was a resident of the nursing home. The reason I assumed this was that once before I had sat at one of the dining tables with a woman and had referred to all the other people at the dining table (apart from myself, of course)  as "residents". "I'm not a resident," the woman had said, but on subsequent visits to the nursing home I had seen her - always dressed snazzily, unlike most of the other residents - in the hallways, and once I even saw her with her son, who was just visiting and who smelled of tobacco.

That's why I assumed this woman in blue was a resident. I thought she was because in my experience even people in the dining room who claim not to be residents turn out to be residents. During our conversation however she mentioned that she now lives in an apartment in a suburb of Sydney. She had had a large house, she said, because she and her husband had five children, but they had sold the house and now lived in an apartment. "Ho ho," I said to myself, incredulously. "She's faking it because she doesn't want me to think she's a resident of the nursing home. She's lying," I thought. But when the end of the meal came the woman in blue got up from the table and went over to a woman who I knew positively - I had never seen the woman in blue in the nursing home before - was a resident, and left the dining room with her.

It seems that she was just a friend visiting the other woman, whose name I have never heard spoken. So I was wrong this time. And it turns out that on one occasion I was wrong to assume a person was a resident of the nursing home because she didn't want to be seen as a resident, and wrong on another occasion because the person I was talking to was actually not a resident.

You can't win 'em all. It turns out that things are not always the way they seem. Today I got home from the nursing home at about 2.15pm having arrived there just after 9am. I think I might have a few glasses of wine this afternoon.

UPDATE, MONDAY 23 MAR: The woman I thought was a resident but who said she lived in an apartment turns out to actually be a resident, making her the second resident who has tried to convince me that they were not residents. The plot thickens.

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